Since yesterday, online gambling operators in the UK will have to carry out age verification for their customers before allowing them to gamble. According to the new rules set by the UK Gambling Commission, gambling operators have to prove that they perform identity checks quick and efficiently. Failing this, they could even lose business.
Historically, gambling companies take about 72 hours to complete age verification checks. Now, remote licensees will have to ask customers to verify their name, address, and date of birth. They will be allowed to ask for any additional verification information they may need to complete the checks promptly. They will also have to give the customers more feedback about which identity documents are required and why.
The operators will also have to state how the information should be supplied to them and what measures they will undertake to ensure data safety. With the help of these guidelines, the UKGC is trying to cut underage gambling and make the industry safer and fairer to all customers. Previously, gambling companies have confiscated user funds and winnings because the user hadn’t completed the age verification process in time. The commission has ruled out this possibility now- companies cannot confiscate user funds.
The gambling industry isn’t thrilled with the new rules and believes that it would dampen new user sign-ups. Moreover, the companies who do not abide by the new rules will have to suffer fines and license reviews, which is considered harsh. Warwick Bartlett, the chief executive of the Global Betting & Gaming Consultancy, noted that the regulation would bring the desired results but at the cost of new customers.
He said that new customers would not be able to make use of new offers quickly as the account activation process could be slower. This will reduce the return on advertising, which is one of the biggest expenses of the gambling industry and considered crucial for its growth.
Wes Himes, the chief executive of Remote Gambling Association, said that the new guidance would help in creating more assurance for the customers and provide them better protection too. He called upon the government to accelerate its work on digital identity so that the issues of the current system don’t push customers to unregulated markets.
Bartlett said that operators should not be expected to get everything perfect from the first day and must be given some time to adjust. He added that the commission must only ask what is reasonable from the operators and allow the operators to do whatever best they can to conform to the rules.